For some time now our fleet has consisted entirely of trucks with a 6x2 “tag” rear dead axle configuration but now we are adding a new configuration to the mix with 10 Volvo Day cabs also 6x2 but with a liftable “pusher” front dead axle.
The 6x2 concept has taken a new twist with a front lift dead axle, and Volvo Trucks is the first North American truck maker to offer such a configuration. A 6x2 axle configuration has three axles, but only one of the rear tandem axles is actually powered by the engine. The non-driving axle is referred to as a “dead” axle. Our entire fleet has been this way for a number of years. Volvo calls their new version of this concept “Adaptive Loading”. Adaptive Loading starts with an electronically controlled tractor air suspensions that detects vehicle weight. When the truck is empty or just lightly loaded, the system lifts the forward dead axle, letting the rear drive axle bear the weight. This configuration of 6x2 liftable front axle brings 3 benefits to us.
- Fuel Efficiency – With the ability to run down the road part time with the front axle lifted we expect to recognize fuel savings from having one less set of tires contacting the road.
- Tire Traction – With being able to lift the axle, the excess weight is then distributed on the other tires which will cause more friction with the tire and the road, increasing traction. This amount of weight exerted on the contact patch (the area where the tire meets the road) on these lift axle 6x2’s is said to be higher than in a 6x4 configuration.
- Tire Life – Being able to lift two tires completely off the ground while driving helps extend the trucks tire life because they aren’t having direct contact with the pavement all the time.
These Volvo trucks also come with a few additional perks. They have a pre-trip inspection aid that checks the exterior lights, switches and circuits status, and helps detect if there is any air leakage. Also, there is a storage area under the passenger seat to store some gallon jugs of fluids or other items. Another first for Keller is the Volvo trucks have a heated windshield which will help the drivers out in the cold winter months. Keller has purchased 10 2017 Volvo day cabs!